Shell oil boss forecasts bright future for solar power

Shell Chief Executive  Ben van Beurden
Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden

By DARA BUTTERFIELD 

The Solar Trade Association today joined a number of commercial organisations calling on the Government to reconsider its Feed-In Tariff proposals after consultation with the industry and stakeholders.

The joint statement is backed by diverse supporters, ranging  from IKEA and DuPont to Energy UK, the TUC and the NFU.

The joint statement comes on the day that the chief executive of Shell forecast that solar would dominate energy generation in the future and after London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was ‘very concerned’ by the proposals for solar under the current Feed-In Tariff consultation.

When asked how renewable energy could affect his business Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell, told the BBC that solar power could emerge as a much bigger contributor to world energy needs saying:

“I have no hesitation to predict that in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.”

A Solar Trade Association spokesman said: “The Government’s proposals for British solar are extreme and they are damaging for both the industry and for consumers. Solar puts people and communities in control and the Government should back that – not take power from the people. It doesn’t have to be like this, so we are reassured that so many organisations, from all walks of life, are joining our call for a rethink.”

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd faced widespread criticism in the Commons today from MPs from all parties, as MPs described the jobs at risk in their communities.

The Government’s own Impact Analysis showed the proposals would significantly reduce the UK solar industry, with insufficient business to sustain current solar installers and the wider UK supply chain. STA modelling, verified by experts from Imperial College, showed that adding only £1.70 to household bills till 2020 would deliver well over a million more solar homes. The modelling also showed that it is growth and political stability which will drive the sector off subsidy through economies of scale.

The association spokesman added: “It is quite wrong to suggest we cannot afford to go solar. The truth is we cannot afford not to. It’s hard to think of a greater waste of public money than building up a strong British solar industry, hailed by the Prime Minister as a success, and then pushing it over a cliff before it is ready to fly.”

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